Walking into the Liberty Hotel for Matt Light’s Lockout Breakfast I was thinking to myself, what really has changed with this lockout in the past 24 hours. There was an injunction granted and the lockout lifted, but how will players, coaches, and ownership react now. It is almost like a junior high school dance with all the guys on one side, the girls on the other, and everyone holds their breath to see who makes the first move.
According to sources, Patriots are going with the “wait and see” mentality while other teams are trying to organize workouts and telling players to report at 8:00 AM. This whole thing is one big mess but I did learn some things today I hadn’t known previously. Everything we hear about an 18 game schedule, rookie wage scale, expanded benefits for the retired players, all of those things are low hanging fruit and we aren’t too far apart with. The place where we are worlds apart, as NFLPA* Rep Pete Kendall said, is in the revenue sharing. Owners don’t want to open their books to prove the numbers they are reporting are truthful. Peter King, whom is a very down to earth guy, seems to think this will take time but they need to get back to talking and being honest, especially the owners. The players who are really freaking out over this are the free agents. They have no idea where they are going to go, where their families are going to have to move to, and essentially they are unemployed. They have an even bigger urgency in getting this done. A lot is going to come out of the next few days while the players prepare a response to the stay put forth by the owners.
Mike Reiss from ESPNBoston, shined some light on the Patriots draft needs with Peter King adding some insight as well. Free Agency is a great backup for drafts as teams typically stock up on players before the draft to have insurance in case of draft busts. You’ll remember the Patriots have done this over the past few years with players like Torey Holt, Joey Galloway, Shaun Springs, and Leigh Bodden. Some of these work out, and some of these turn out to be released while someone else from the draft steps up.
Having free agents on the offensive side of the ball right now, most of whom protect Tommy Terrific’s model loving frame, would allow us to make an assumption the Patriots will draft in that direction. The Patriots have three picks in the top 33, one of which I can almost guarantee they trade away for 2012 or 2013, as BB likes to stock up on those. Matt Light is a free agent, Dan Koeppen‘s contract is up after this year, and Logan Mankins is ….well who knows where Logan will be. If Pouncey is there, I say we grab him. Bill seems to feed into the Urban Meyer stamp of approval on his players, so he may be the first pick at 17 for us. Now if free agency comes into play before the draft, throw all of these things out the window and let the chaos ensue.
My Draft Needs Rankings Are:
1) Pass Rusher – DE or OLB
2) Guard to replace Neal and potentially Logan Mankins
The Matt Light Foundation is a charity which helps “knucklehead” kids as he puts it stay out of trouble and do constructive things with their time and energy. A lot of Boston bigwigs in the legal world and teammates of Light’s showed up this morning for this great event. Logan Mankins, Vince Wilfork, Brian Hoyer, Russ Hochstein now of the Broncos, Dan Koeppen, Peter King from SI, and Mike Reiss from ESPN all were in attendance.
The Liberty Hotel was a great host, with great food, and all for a great cause. There were some fantastic auctions with Peter King driving up the prices on each item, rightfully so. There was an open panel for members of the audience to ask questions to anyone they wished.